In-depth reviews

BMW X5 review - Interior, design and technology

A new platform opens many new technology doors for the BMW X5, although its style is evolutionary

The latest BMW X5 is instantly recognisable, which is something you can say about most other German manufacturers’ evolving model lines. That said, there are some stand-out features that differentiate the new X5 from the old model, mostly around the nose and tail. Up front, deeper kidney grilles give a bit more road presence, as do sharper headlamp designs and more sculpted body creases. At the back new tail-lights and badges mark out the new-generation car, which is also a bit bigger all round than before.

It’s the new platform beneath the X5 that provides most of the excitement. A variant of the Modular Longitudinal Platform that also underpins the smaller X3, it comes with the option of steel or air suspension, and an array of new safety and infotainment tech.

Inside the X5 there’s been a bit of a sea-change, too, with an all-new layout that’s more angular and contemporary – at least in terms of BMW’s latest interior design philosophy. It’s luxurious and roomy, with the new 12.3-inch infotainment display offering almost all the tech options any new car buyer might want. There’s also a digital instrument pack for the driver, but it’s not as impressive as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

The interior quality is excellent, with fine materials and finishes in evidence, and an overall sense that it’s all screwed together very convincingly. There’s also a new 7.0 version of BMW’s iDrive control system, which works extremely well, although it’s getting increasingly complicated to navigate these days.

Interesting options for the new X5 include a panoramic sunroof with a starlight night-time illumination mode. You can also have laser headlamps that pierce the gloom with a 500-metre maximum range. Meanwhile, the Offroad pack brings four loose-surface driving modes – sand, rock, gravel and snow – and adds underbody protection for X5 users who want to see a bit more of the countryside.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The new infotainment set-up features wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, while Android Auto is included for all vehicles which support BMW's iDrive 7.0 system. The main interface is the iDrive controller and the 12.3-inch screen with crisp graphics, while another 12.3-inch screen replaces the traditional infotainment pack, but it’s not as configurable as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

As you’d expect the X5 comes with fully featured sat-nav and audio, but if you’re really hard to please there’s a Bowers & Wilkins audio option with 20 speakers and 1,500 Watts of sound.

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